Broadband in Italy: an overview
High-speed Internet, or broadband, access is an essential infrastructure that has been proven to stimulate competition, productivity and growth and it is considered the engine of the so called knowledge-information economy. In this paper, we first provide a technical survey of the standard broadband technologies (copper wire, optical fiber and Wi-Fi), then based on Eurostat and OECD data, we conduct an analysis regarding the diffusion and average available quality of broadband internet access in Italy. We find that Italy is behind compared to the other OECD countries in both broadband penetration rate and average available speed. The main determinants of this delay are the scarce diffusion of PCs and the persistently low ICT alphabetization of the Italian population, the geographical and density characteristics of the country as well as strategic factors (market structure and bureaucratic constraints). Finally, we examine the main regulations and policy instruments that have been established to foster broadband diffusion and we provide policy indications aimed at improving average quality and reducing digital-divide.
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